The Rebirth of Direct Mail

When you think of direct mail of the past, you think of men in three-piece suits selling tired, cookie-cutter formats that lacked in creativity, segmentation, flexibility and capabilities. What was once a dying medium, is now very much alive. Today, direct mail is bigger, better and more innovative than ever.

“Direct Mail (DM) has been regaining in popularity over the past few years and is now being legitimately noticed by marketers as a way to grab the attention of their customers. A well-crafted, personalized piece has the potential to make an impact on the end user. Marketers are fueling the growth of DM because they are seeing that it works, (Graphic Arts).”

“60% of customers say really good advertising mail helped keep the sender’s brand top-of-mind, (Royal Mail MarketReach).”

“Direct mail is more memorable than digital media. Brand recall was 70% higher among participants who were exposed to direct mail ads rather than digital ads, (Canada Post).”

“More than twice as many consumers say they enjoy receiving direct mail more than digital advertising, (Canada Post).”

a whole new world

The world of direct mail has changed dramatically, and businesses of all industries and sizes can reap its benefits. From more advanced printing technology and deeper data selection, to complete personalization and measurement, today’s direct mail campaign offers a more innovative and robust array of ROI-driven options and capabilities than ever before, such as:

  • Shorter turnaround times
  • Four-color variable technology
  • Increased level of personalization
  • Growing integration of print and other channels
  • Less conventionally designed mailers
  • Enhanced finishing possibilities
  • Postal audits and integration
  • Data-driven insights, segmentation and targeting
  • Tracking and measurement

direct mail vs. e-mail (winning the battle for your attention)

“With the explosion of online marketing there is a temptation to set aside direct-mail as a means of reducing spending. That temptation is even more persuasive when a false comparison is used, such as direct-mail vs. e-mail, without looking at the numbers. Nobody downloads an e-mail and puts it up on the refrigerator with a little magnet, and sees it 20 times a day until they call. That might happen with a well-designed letter or postcard received in the mail though, (”

Direct mail offers many advantages over e-mail:

  • No inbox overload
  • More personalized and unique
  • More trustworthy and safe
  • Longer shelf life
  • Greater selectivity
  • Better brand and offer recall
  • Resonates with every age group
  • Drives online or bricks and mortar traffic
  • Higher response rate—4.4% direct mail vs. 0.12% email (DMN)
  • Higher delivery rate
  • Higher open rate

direct mail best practices

Direct mail is a highly effective marketing tool to reach both business-to-business and business-to-consumer targets and engage them in an especially tangible and personal way. However, like any other marketing channel, execution is the key. If you want to succeed in direct mail, you should follow these recommendations:

Data Really Matters

The quality and accuracy of your mailing list/database and how you leverage it is the most vital component of a direct mail campaign. Without it, a well-thought-out, compelling, personalized mailer simply won’t get to the right people you need to reach.

Lead with a Letter

Letters typically garner the highest response rate in direct mail. What makes letters so effective is the personalization aspect.

Compelling Creative

Your mailer must have a compelling message that’s written so that the audience easily understands what you’re selling and why they need it.

Features vs. Benefits

Features are important when showcasing the advantages of a specific product, but what sells are the benefits. The customer wants to know what’s in it for them. How will they benefit from what you are selling? Will it make their life easier? Is it more affordable? Will it increase productivity? Will it make them more money?

Personalize. Personalize. Personalize.

Direct mail today has the capability to be highly personalized. It’s so much more than just including someone’s name and address on a mailer. Offers, images, landing pages, gift cards and more can be targeted to each individual recipient, making the mailer extremely relevant while customizing their specific needs and situation. Nowadays, you can even personalize the envelope that the letter comes in as well, adding an additional layer of customization to the prospect.

You Must Have an Offer

A successful direct mailpiece should feature and sell a specific offer, not just the product or service itself. Make your offer standout, so the recipient takes notice. Your offer must motivate the recipient to take immediate action.

Track/Measure and Optimize

If you don’t measure your results, how will you know what worked and what didn’t? Make sure you use an accurate and proven tracking tool, and adjust as needed to generate ample results.

the future looks bright for direct mail

Direct mail has certainly undergone some changes—for the better. It has so much to offer today’s marketer. As technology continues to evolve, direct mail is a channel that is evolving with it. Direct mail’s relevancy and versatility will continue to fuel its own growth, as marketers alike are drawn to all it has to offer. The future of direct mail has never looked so promising or so exciting.


  • There is a resurgence taking place for direct mail.
  • Today’s direct mail is powered by advanced printing technology, deeper data selection, personalization and ROI-based tracking/measurement.
  • Direct mail has many distinct advantages over e-mail that should be considered.
  • A successful direct mail campaign’s components should include solid data, a personalized feel, a strong letter, a focus on benefits, and a clear and compelling offer and proper tracking.
  • The future looks very promising for direct mail as it continues to evolve.
Published on May 15, 2017